Create Your Own Writing Retreat

I’m writing this from day one of a four-day solo writing retreat. I’ve been alone for about 24 hours.

I have:: cried (that happens to me on retreat, like emotional catching up) napped, meditated, chanted (thank you Eric), danced, wiggled around on my yoga mat, giggled, and done a little wailing.

I have:: walked back and forth to the beach a half dozen times, eaten an enormous amount of roasted veggies, drank an enormous amount of green juice (this morning:: cucumber, kale, romaine, parsley, lemon, ginger, and beet), indulged in raisins and popcorn (what a wild thing I am).

I have:: dropped my computer (scary), read (poetry, Jack Kornfield, and a young adult novel I stole from my step-son), and ached for Bob and Lilly.

Mostly I have::

sat with my squirmy self.

Oh and I have written a few paragraphs.

Retreat time has its own rhythm. Of course, life does too, but we I often override that rhythm. So the first order of retreat business: trusting that rhythm. Self-kindness trust through compassionate vigilance. As in:: Am I walking to water again because I need to lighten up on my “agenda” to get a lot done or am I walking to the water again because I want to get away from the anxiety I often feel when writing?

Picture me here, asking::

Listening.

Sensing into this story.

Not checking the time.

And eating.

Here are some resources that are helping me::

My writing coach Jeffery Davis preaches the power of regular creative retreats — here’s his excellent post on just how to do it for yourself. The Post-it notes over the clock were his brilliant idea. Hire him!

For determination, here is a story by Robin Bradford (scroll down a tiny bit to Gone, Gone, Really Gone) on her nine month daily retreat and this delightful interview with short story writer and teacher Sarah Selecky about a two month retreat in which she didn’t write… until the last 5 days!

My book The Woman’s Retreat Book can be helpful.

Back to the writing I go.  May I be gentle and compassionate, and serve my best self.  May the fruits of this time away benefit you and all creatives everywhere.

Love,

Jen

P.S. I adore creating retreats for others. Please consider joining Marianne Elliott, Susannah Conway, and me for our upcoming Creative Joy Retreat. It’s just over a month away and we still have a few spots. It’s a once in life time opportunity and it will be deeply restorative playful magic.

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Amy Mikah - May 18, 2012

Oh beautiful lady, i have been craving this very thing. What wonderful timing, thank you!

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i declare this self-care week! | Invincible Summer - May 21, 2012

[…] Saturday, this blog post by Jennifer Louden made me remember how much fun it is to create a personal retreat for myself. You don’t need […]

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